Gov. Malloy’s plan promotes a conversion to natural gas. What do you think?

Oct 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Top Story

Connecticut Fund for the Environment said they are concerned that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy’s reliance on natural gas is “short-sighted.”

The plan promotes a major conversion to natural gas.

“In the last decade,” they CFE says in a statement, “the country has paid the price for our attachment to oil.”

The Daniel-Johnson Dam, located 214 km north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec. The dam constructed between 1962 and 1968 is the cornerstone of Hydro-Quebec's Manic-cinq hydroelectric complex. The two electric generating stations located there have an installed capacity of 2592 MW. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Daniel-Johnson Dam, located 214 km north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec. The dam constructed between 1962 and 1968 is the cornerstone of Hydro-Quebec’s Manic-cinq hydroelectric complex. The two electric generating stations located there have an installed capacity of 2592 MW. (Wikimedia Commons)

Environmental Headlines believes everyone should be concerned about the governor of this state’s infatuation with natural gas.

Does he think that because it’s “natural” then it must be good for us?

Natural gas may be natural and plentiful, but so is coal, and that doesn’t, by any means, make coal the best alternative for creating energy.

Until we pass laws that prevent the raping of our Earth for coal and natural gas, we will see the continued destruction of our Appalachian Mountains to mountaintop removal and the continued destruction of our Earth by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

As most people by now know, and as Wikipedia points out: While proponents of fracking point to the economic benefits from vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons the process can extract, critics who oppose the practice point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these.

The wider, global ramifications of a reliance on natural gas are not good either.

Anne-Sophie Corbeau, an International Energy Agency Senior Gas Analyst writes in Human Wrongs Watch that:

Concerns about a gas supply crisis usually focus on pipeline disruptions, but large parts of the world depend on liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan, South Korea, Chinese Taipei and India rely entirely on LNG for their gas imports, helping LNG represent a total of 9% of global gas demand. Those economies’ dependency brings critical and specific vulnerabilities, especially since any disruption to LNG supply would have global implications.

LNG can be redirected fairly easily, and the liquefaction trade has increased significantly since 2009. But that growth hides the fact that global LNG trade is very dependent on one gas producer: Qatar, which provided 30% of the 2011 LNG trade and sent almost half of that supply to just those four most dependent economies.

Any event significantly reducing Qatari LNG supplies could have severe effects on energy security. Not only would the LNG importers suffer, but so would other gas importers, with prices potentially rising sharply as economies dependent on LNG diverted supply from other markets.

There is currently little spare LNG output capacity in the world, as LNG producers tend to produce as much as they can. Therefore, other options would have to be used: primarily increased domestic output, notably in the Americas and possibly China, and fuel switching in the power sector.

Hydroelectric energy is also natural, with a little help from Nature’s friends — engineers.

Also in his draft energy plan, Malloy calls for a study of using Canadian hydroelectricity to meet renewable portfolio standards and for a dramatic expansion of natural gas infrastructure. The blueprint, as Lisa Wood of Platts.com writes, “aims to help the state achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.”

Wood reports that “Connecticut will need to secure nearly 3 GW of low-carbon supply to meet its renewable portfolio standards (or RPS)” — about 25 times the state’s current Class I RPS capacity, the plan said.

Although Malloy’s plan focuses heavily on increasing natural gas usage, it also calls for expanding energy efficiency programs and the use of renewable energy, SolarIndustryMag.com reports. The government will reexamine the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) – which currently calls for 20% renewable power by 2020 – with an eye toward both raising the standard and increasing the mix of renewable options.

Unless renewable development increases in New England, Connecticut ratepayers could face $215 million in annual penalty payments.

To overcome this shortfall, Woods reports, “the plan calls for the study of allowing Canadian hydropower to qualify to participate in the RPS.”

“The plan considers about $2 billion in infrastructure improvements to connect 250,000 residents and 75% of businesses to natural gas in the next seven years.”

The plan will face two months of public comment and technical review.Written comments are due to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection by Dec. 14.

Written comments on the draft Strategy should be filed directly on the DEEP website using the electronic filing system.  Any questions should be directed to Debra Morrell at 860-827-2688 or by email at debra.morrell@ct.gov

 

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